Hardware: Review: Altec Lansing AHS-302 Stereo Headset

Description: Collapsable headset with stereo input/headphones and integrated microphone boom with separate mic plug.

In wanting to look at voice of IP applications, I wanted to pick up a headset that was a little higher quality than the El Cheapo brand I had picked up at a swap meet at one point. Best Buy had this particular model, priced around $25.

The good: the headphones sound pretty good, with fairly wide stereo response. They are also extremely light, with a “behind the head” configuration and are very comfortable to wear. They fold up very small, and would easily fit in a shirt pocket if the boom mice wasn’t attached. The mike is on a flexible stark and also pivots around where it attaches to the left headphone. There is an attached foam windscreen, and a generous length of cable which would make the headset usable for a desktop system where the computer isn’t necessarily close to the user. About 14 inches from where the cable attaches to the headset there is a small plastic control unit that lets you adjust the mic level and the volume level of the headphones. The control has a small clip on the back for attaching to your shirt.

The bad: like many low end headsets, the microphone seems to very weak output. With the Windows control panel cranked all the way it still doesn’t generate much of a signal into the computer. Seems like to get quality microphone input you need to spend money for some kind of higher end mike with an integrated amp, or plug into some intermediate piece of equipment to boost the instrument level output up to a line level.

Overall: Function C+, Value B+